Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Why are Bournemouth giving flat performances?

The last couple of performances have bee relatively flat performances. There is no getting away from it that AFCB have struggled to hit their very high levels. Every team will dip from time to time and perhaps it was to be expected, but with the league being so tight there needs to be a bit more consistency now to ensure Bournemouth stay above those fighting against the drop that are in even worse positions.
Bournemouth have no clear answer for  why the keep falling behind in games.
There is a question though of why are Bournemouth coming out onto the pitch and starting games in a flat way? Simon Francis argued that the warm ups and training had been fine and there was plenty of energy in the dressing room. Eddie Howe even went as far as to say we had early chances and were only really flat when the side went behind. I think Eddie is right there and it's not that the team set out with anything but positivity at the start of games.

Everything has an impact on players though. A wrong decision, a bad tackle and conceding goals are all things players have to deal with individually as well as a team and of late AFCB have not been able to pull together quickly enough to conquer their setbacks. AFCB have little to feel flat about though. They are in a decent position in 11th place and have not lost to that many of the bottom sides, while they have lots of games still to go to get the points they need.



Much of the problem is pressure that is coming on now as we get to the nitty-gritty part of the season. The motivation to do well is there and remains with the team so if they can start to compete better they will create more favourable moments that they can draw upon.

I am not imaging that the recent cold spell has effected the performance levels, but the players do also need a good atmosphere from the crowd and there has been problems generating that. If the fans can get over any nerves then we will find that they don't get transferred to the players and the points will start to come a bit quicker for AFCB.


Out Tomorrow Cherry Chimes' March Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - What happened to mid-table safety?

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Bournemouth just can't keep the back door shut

It is almost bewildering how a team can be so strong at the back and go on an unbeaten run and then seem to forget all that they were doing so well. Players are of course only human and they are fallible at times. Bournemouth's pressures have only been heaped upon them because they are on the brink of achieving what they set out to do this season and when the players see that they are good enough to get clean sheets against any team in the Premier League they will do it again.
Asmir Begovic has come in for some criticism
after his performance against Newcastle Utd.
Against Newcastle Utd it was far from secure at the back though. Both goals that Newcastle scored were not openings that couldn't be shut out, but Bournemouth made several errors. Nobody closed down Johnjo Shelvey before picking out Ritchie's run and Daniels was sucked in too high up the field to let Ritchie get five yards on him. Begovic was also unable to clear before Dwight Gayle and the result was the first goal.

The second goal was no less disappointing with Dummit given clear license to cross from the left and Pérez must have been surprised to find himself free on the far side of the goal and being given time to slip the ball past Begovic for Gayle to double the lead. It was simply another lesson in needing to shut down crosses and marking up.

It was clearly not Begovic's best game but he didn't have a lot of support from his defenders. It is important that the communication is good and everyone is looking out for each other, but you couldn't see much evidence of that.

Another two goals shipped at home to a side that didn't have strikers that set fear into many teams just underlines how poor the defending was at times. I give credit to Newcastle in the way Shelvey saw Ritchie's run for the first goal, but I can't see anything but errors for the second Newcastle goal. Bournemouth have to be better than that as Dan Gosling said after the match.

Out Tomorrow Cherry Chimes' March Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - What happened to mid-table safety?

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Subs changed it up for AFCB against Newcastle

Things weren't working well for the majority of the game between AFCB and Newcastle Utd. There was no real direction to Bournemouth's play and they were not testing the Newcastle keeper hardly at all in the first 70 minutes, but by the end they had turned it around to have five shots on target and a lot of that was down to the substitutions.
Adam Smith and Jermain Defoe had an influence on
the game when they came on as well as Lys Mousset.
Adam Smith came on at half time and just seemed more in tune with his surroundings that Charlie Daniels had been in the first half. He also wanted to attack and make Newcastle defend and his positive play gave Bournemouth a foothold in the Newcastle half whenever they went to the left side. Josh King suddenly became more active and worked well with Smith and the goal that was created was the culmination of their sustained efforts on the left. Like most fans I expect, I was willing Adam Smith to shoot as soon as he had got into the box and the thunderous finish had us all smiling because it just relieved some of the frustration that had been building up. It released the team to go on full out attack and there was more impetus to come with the running power of Lys Mousset and the dangerous presence of Jermain Defoe.

Bournemouth needed something to change it up because they simply were on machine mode and were not doing anything positive when they had the ball, while making mistakes when they didn't have possession. It is a bit like the cavalry arriving when Eddie Howe puts on new faces. It was a shame that be was ill and not available because Bournemouth needed pace and on the right side it was left to Francis to try and also get forward more which I have to say he did second half and got in some excellent crosses. Stanislas did not get subbed, but I suppose Howe could have put Pugh on the left and switched Adam Smith over to the right, going three at the back. But Smith has been great on the left and it did allow him to cut inside for his goal. I know he can do it just as well from either wing but he has started to really excel when on the left of late.

Options from the bench are crucial in the Premier League. While Defoe dd not get much of a run it was great to see him back in contention and with his deadly finishing and perhaps Ibe getting back next game, Bournemouth can start to rely on having a really strong bench again.

Happy Birthday to Callum Wilson!

Lewis Cook can already hear the Kop calling

There was an article on The Daily Mail yesterday that confirmed that a couple of Liverpool scouts were in Dean Court for the match Bournemouth had against Newcastle Utd with eyes firmly fixed on Lewis Cook. It has been a whirlwind rise for Lewis in the last couple of months having now fully-broken through to the starting line up, but are Bournemouth about to lose one of their young stars when his career at Bournemouth has only really just got started?
Lewis Cook has made 20 appearances for AFCB in the
Premier League this season, but will be on the move in 2018/19?
My feeling is that if Liverpool are really considering Lewis as a potential for a replacement for Emre Can they could do far worse than Lewis Cook. Eddie Howe will be a bit sore that by playing Lewis he has attracted interest of a top six club in the player, but you can't hold back talent, and Eddie must be doing something right if Lewis is starting to flourish at AFCB.

The spending power of Liverpool is in a different ball park to what Bournemouth can muster and if they offer a fair price for Lewis Cook this summer it is going to be extremely difficult for AFCB to say no, even if they want to build a future side around Lewis. The prospect of Lewis leaving so early would be a bitter blow, but he is going to probably get to play on a big platform if he makes the World Cup squad for England and Liverpool are no doubt aware that if they act now they could get Lewis at a good time, before other major clubs in Europe look to entice him.
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Lewis Cook could surely double his wages and more with a move to Liverpool and the opportunity to play in front of the Kop regularly in a Jurgen Klopp side would be a great move for any Bournemouth player. Lewis, of course, would also be a bit closer to his friends in Leeds and all these sort of things will influence him. Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith can also tell him anything he could possibly need to know about Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool set up on the inside.

From Bournemouth's point of view, the player is still under contract  until 2020 and is not up for sale. But AFCB will already be hopefully seeing who they could bring in this summer if a replacement is needed. It has been a while since a Bournemouth player ended up at Liverpool and Danny Ings managed it via Burnley. Liverpool may be looking for a more direct route to grab a Cherry this summer.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Have Bournemouth become a 20 minute team?

There is a certain fondness to seeing AFCB racing towards the North stand in the final quarter of a match knowing that they are capable of getting some last minute goals. It has almost become a staple diet of Saturday football, but I am not so sure it is really that healthy to always be in such a situation chasing a game with the clock running down.
Comeback kings.
Bournemouth have made a habit of finding themselves in such situations this season. They came from behind in such  game against Arsenal and Stoke City in recent home wins and while those games worked out it would not have been a surprise if Bournemouth had not got back into the match with Newcastle. It is almost as if the side needs to have that state of fear about almost losing a game in order to be able to perform at their best. It's madness of course. Bournemouth do need to play better earlier in games, but even the TV pundits that get to cover Bournemouth games now kind of half expect a rousing finish in AFCB games when they are at home, but can the team continue to deliver these kinds of finishes?

Well, I'd say it is all down to the home crowd. When we want things to happen and build that expectation that the team is going to score, it more than often happens because the players feed off of our excitement. The problem is that kind of energy is coming later and later in games and I don't know if it the cold weather, or just disappointment in not seeing the team playing well, but there has to be more to making a successful team than just having it play for the last 20 minutes of games.

If AFCB don't find a way to play better for longer the will lose games like the one against Newcastle. They can't keep digging themselves out of a hole. So I don't think Bournemouth have become a 20 minute team but they do have an extra gear that we can tap in to when the ground is buzzing and that is where AFCB's games need to be for 90 minutes.

It's never about one individual player, but more a general feeling that the team is now going to be in the front foot as it kicks towards the Steve Fletcher stand. Long may it continue.

Francis right to criticise fans' lack of support

Listening to the crowd on Saturday was pretty disappointing. There wasn't a great deal of noise coming from anywhere but the North stand and not getting behind the team is not what AFCB is about. I know there were reasons for being dejected about what we were seeing on the pitch, especially in the first half but the players need our support and won't perform at all well if thy can't feel that the ground is getting behind them and wants them to do well.
Simon Francis was unhappy with the support that the team had against Newcastle Utd.
So, when Simon Francis had a pop at the fans after the Newcastle match I kind of got where he was coming from. The fans were justified at being annoyed with the performance up at Huddersfield and Simon acknowledged that, but this was a chance for us to forget about that and get the Cherries back on winning ways, and yet the fans didn't help the team when they went one down to Newcastle. Yes, the goal was a bad one to concede, but I always felt that the crowd would try and lift the team in moments of disappointment, but instead by half time I even heard the boos ringing out.

I know fans want to get their feelings across when a performance isn't good enough but booing them isn't going to help them turn around their form. If anything it makes them go into their shell and not want the ball. We have to get over it when Bournemouth make mistakes and things don't go as well as we might hope. The match day experience is about going through good and bad but you always support your team.




There was some goings on with Junior Stanislas, I heard, with the East Stand when he was getting barracked, but if he did gesture to the crowd and was unhappy with the treatment he was getting it just shows how giving players stick doesn't help them do better. We surely want AFCB to turn things around when it is not going well. Wasn't the last 20 minutes great to see with the players suddenly going at Newcastle like their lives depended on it? We might have had 45-70 minutes of that had the crowd got behind the team better and for longer far earlier in the game.

There is a wrong impression that AFCB can just turn on the style when they want to and it's not the case. They need to get encouraged and feel there is a force behind them willing them to succeed to get things going in the right direction. Let's give them our full support shall we? What they have done for the club in the last few seasons is second to none. These players have been fantastic for us and I don't want to hear any moaning during the 90 minutes of a game as that is not what we are in the crowd for on match day. We have to try and help the team always try and get the three points. UTCIAD!

ASK Fans Match Report - AFCB v Newcastle Utd

Daily Mail links Lewis Cook with Liverpool

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Bournemouth caught in a Gayle until Smith and Gozza salvage a point 2-2

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 2 Newcastle Utd
24 February 2018
Attendance: 10,808
Bournemouth take on Newcastle at a cold Dean Court.
Adam Smith and Dan Gosling saved Bournemouth's blushes on a day that was cold and the football was stone-cold poor from a Bournemouth point of view. Much of the predicament Bournemouth found themselves in during this game was of their own making. Newcastle did not exactly blow the Cherries away, but the Cherries had no idea how to stop crosses or defend with any semblance of composure. Matt Ritchie was given free reign to raid down the right before a shambles at the near post allowed Dwight Gayle the time to back heel his first goal in with apparent Gayle's second, just before half time, was well created and saw the ball slip under Begovic to leave Gayle with a free invitation to score again.  A 2-2 draw in the end was a lucky escape for Howe's men who left it until the last 10 minutes to play with the swagger that Bournemouth fans want to see for 90 minutes. 
Bournemouth look to keep their home form going well with a fourth win in a row.
It was good to see Jermain Defoe back on the bench while Josh King was given a start, but there was not a wholesale change from the Huddersfield defeat and Harry Arter  and Jordan Ibe were not in the squad.
Dwight Gayle would be a real problem for the Cherries.
There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery. You can also get a flavour of the ups and downs of the game by seeing my video diary on Chimes to Camera

The game started with some good early play from Josh King and some strong tackling by Steve Cook as both sides had a share of possession. Dan Gosling was getting on the ball and had a good opportunity to open the scoring, but put his header from 12 yards out high and wide.

Stanislas whipped a good low cross in but it was too far away from Wilson to get to. This was followed by another Bournemouth attack with Stanislas shooting wide on seven minutes. Stanislas then won a free kick and took it himself, before Wilson had a shot on the turn saved. 

Daniels had to block a shot from Perez, before Kenedy put a volley wide. Kenedy had another chance from a free kick, but shot over on 14 minutes. 

Matt Ritchie had been quiet to this point but he soon grabbed a chance to run down the right unnoticed and slipped in behind Bournemouth's defence having been spotted by Johnjo Shelvey. The cross from Ritchie should have been cleared but was left Dwight Gayle with the ball and his back to goal just three yards out! The play seemed to be in slow motion as Gayle had an age to check his position and back heel the ball across the line for the first goal on 17 minutes - 0-1 to Newcastle!



Ritchie almost benefited from a mistake by Steve Cook but shot wide. A Bournemouth corner led to a well hit but rising drive by Stanislas.

Bournemouth were not in control of the game and Wilson was hardly involved and when he did come back to tackle he caught Kennedy and committed a foul. After 35 minutes Wilson went down in the box after a challenge from Dummett, but it was no foul for referee Roger East.

The chances had not dried up but they were falling to the wrong person I guess with Gosling again putting a cross from Daniels over. Bournemouth were seeing the ball turnover far too easily.

While Bournemouth tried to force the pace, all they ended up in doing was giving the ball away. A Newcastle corner from a Kenedy deflected shot soon had Bournemouth in further trouble. The ball came out Dummett who crossed and Pedro somehow squeezed the ball under Begovic  from beyond the far post to leave Gayle with a tap in for 0-2. Half time was a relief.
Ritchie was happy at half time.
Newcastle deserved their lead.
Adam Smith comes on to get Bournemouth into the game.
Second half
Bournemouth subbed Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith came on. Lewis Cook was still having difficulty in making passes but Francis was showing improvement.

Natahan Aké was booked for a foul on Gayle on 53 minutes. Gosling fouled Ritchie a few minutes later but escaped punishment. 

Bournemouth were not making much progress and even with a corner and a header wide from Nathan Aké it was hard to imagine where a goal might come from. Lys Mousset, on 64 minutes, then replaced Ryan Fraser who had been on the end of a heavy challenge from Shelvey in the first half. Christian Atsu then came on to replace Kenedy.

It was a scrappy second half up to this point and it was helpful at least that Newcastle were also playing poorly. Newcastle had a free kick to extend their lead, but it hit the wall and the follow up from Pérez went over.

Bournemouth subbed Wilson and brought on Jermain Defoe on 72 minutes. He immediately made an impact shooting and seeing his deflected shot hit the side netting for a Bournemouth corner.

Lys Mousset almost crafted a goal cutting it back for Steve Cook to head but the keeper, Dubravka, managed to keep it out while injuring himself on the post and Johnjo Shelvey.

There was a delay over another corner as Newcastle subbed Gayle and brought on Hayden. The delay worked well for Newcastle who had a break on. Perez shot down the left and found Atsu who passed on to Shelvey and with the goal gaping, he amazingly shot wide from a few yards out! Aké had done his best to put Shelvey off.

That's when the game changed. King and Lewis Cook worked well before Lewis Cook back heeled it to Adam Smith, who picked the ball up just inside the box on the left and drilled a shot that flew in off the underside of the bar to make it 1-2! Bournemouth were back in it with 10 minutes to go.

Yedlin was given a yellow for fouling King. Bournemouth were applying the pressure. All Nwcastle could do was make another sub as Ritchie was replaced by Manquillo on 84 minutes. Diame made a bad foul on Lys Mousset and was booked. It was all Bournemouth now.

Stanislas took the free kick and got it over the wall but Dubravka held on to the ball well. The ball was then set up by Francis who crossed from the right to find King who controlled it well and played it wide on the left to Aké, and his pass fell to Gosling who smashed in the equaliser on 89 minutes! It was another Bournemouth recovery act.

Five minutes of added time saw Lys Mousset do well with a low cross that was kept out by Dubravka at his near post. Bournemouth won a couple of late corners, but could not find the winner and had to settle for 2-2.
Eddie congratulates Steve Cook.
Summary
Bournemouth were lucky. This was a poor performance again by the Cherries and it is quite unbelievable that there was no spark and energy about the first half performance. There was nothing about Bournemouth that looked composed or cohesive until Adam Smith started running at defenders in the second half. His goal was a lifeline and it stimulated more from Josh King and Dan Gosling as Bournemouth came forward. The cavalry charge is well and good for Bournemouth at Dean Court, but they should not have been playing poorly enough to be 0-2 down in the first place. There is no doubt this is a good point, but why oh why were Bournemouth such a shambles for most of this game? It was as if the long break didn't do them any favours at all.


AFCB Line up
AFCB Subs: Boroc, Simpson, A Smith, Surman, Pugh, Mousset, Defoe.

AFCB Ratings

Begovic 4, Francis 6, S Cook 5, Aké 6, Daniels 4, A Smith 8, Stanislas 5, L Cook 5, Gosling 7,
Fraser 6, Mousset 6, King 7, Wilson 5

Cherry Chimes' MoM: Adam Smith


Referee Rating Roger East: 4/10 Ryan Fraser is probably still asking why he was not awarded a penalty.


Newcastle Utd
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune. Dummett, Ritchie (Manquillo 84), Shelvey, Diamé,
Kenedy (Atsu 64), Pérez, Gayle (Hayden 78)

Newcstle Utd Subs

Darlow, Clark, Manquillo, Merino, Atsu, Hayden, Joselu
Bournemouth will be pleased to have grabbed a point from this one. 

Cherry Chimes T-Shirt Competition
Well done to @mchubble30 and @mrbert71 who both win a Cherry Chimes' T-shirt with Chris guessing the scorer (Adam Smith) and Dave picking the right score of 2-2.



Saturday, 24 February 2018

Bournemouth have to find the energy to beat Newcastle

Newcastle will come to Dean Court knowing that a win will push them above Bournemouth in the table and it would be a big step to them making their Premier League status more secure. It is a huge game and the energy that Newcastle had to hold on to victory against Man Utd was immense and it was quite disturbing to see how Bournemouth fell away in their last match. So, the Cherries had better have found some energy in their legs for this game as it is one of the key games in their season.
Bournemouth will need to be full of running to get past Newcastle Utd.
For once I hope that the players are sent out with no thoughts about league positions and points. they don't need that extra pressure in such a big game. They need to be focussed on winning their personal battles and getting to the ball first. When the Cherries have the intensity and speed in their play to attack teams they invariably play well. Now is not the time for lacklustre performances and I'm hoping for a really loud atmosphere at home for this one as the players need to be brave and strong to beat Newcastle who will be more than a little confident having taken all three points against Man Utd.



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I do expect an end-to-end game with plenty of goal-mouth action and we could need a big performance from Asmir Begovic to get something from the match. While Bournemouth might not need to win this game, they certainly won't want to lose it and Begovic will be well praised if he can keep a clean sheet. He can be helped by having defenders who do react quickly and get their passing game going well, but the first 20 minutes as always will be important just to see if Bournemouth can come out with more energy and aggression than they did up at Huddersfield. Newcastle know they are in a battle and perhaps AFCB forgot that they were still in a battle last match. They can't afford to make that same mistake in this game.

Bournemouth are close to getting the points they need and that is what makes it all the more disappointing when they don't perform. So, Eddie Howe has to get them mentally and physically right for this one as Newcastle will be just as hungry for the win. Win this game though and Bournemouth will have restored their momentum and can look forward to the remaining games. That's the outcome we all want to see. UTCIAD!


Newcastle Utd Away Form

LWWLD

AFCB Home Form

LDWWW
Possible AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Simpson, L Cook, Gosling, Ibe, Mousset, Wilson
AskFans' Match Preview AFCB v Newcastle Utd

Friday, 23 February 2018

What changes should Howe make for Newcastle?

This past week will have been a big one for AFCB's players. AFCB can't afford to drop any points at home with the recent results. So the team selection is going to be fierce now and Eddie Howe has to make sure he picks the players with the right mentality as well as the those in top physical condition.

That may mean making some changes, but if Howe can't put his finger on what was exactly wrong at Huddersfield he has to rely on what he knows gets results at home. In some ways he probably has to get the defeat against Huddersfield out of the players' minds and there were so many things that were not typical of a Bournemouth side that he doesn't want them to fall into the same mistakes.

All positions are pretty much up for grabs as AFCB look to find form.
The temptation to give Josh King a start is perhaps is something that Eddie will opt to do at home. I thought King might have even started at Huddersfield having played a strong part in the win against Stoke City, but I suppose Eddie is still trying to protect him from too many minutes. The central midfield area is the big talking point though. Does Eddie Howe stick with Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook or does he go back to thinking about Arter and/or Surman? I didn't think Gosling had a good enough game at Huddersfield to give him any priority in this next game, but I thought Lewis Cook was a bit more successful at trying to get AFCB moving in the right direction. My gut feeling is that Eddie will change at least one central midfielder and that Arter may just be given the opportunity to come back in.


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Mistakes were made at the back but I don't see Eddie having enough defenders to change much at the back. Adam Smith could be set for a start but will Eddie Howe have the courage to drop Simon Francis? Bournemouth need to win a game without Francis to get rid of that bonkers stat that they can't win without him. This next match could be the moment to try and test the theory that AFCB are more than capable of winning in the Premier League without Simon Francis.

AskFans' Match Preview AFCB v Newcastle Utd

Cherry Chimes' T-Shirt competition
To win a T-Shirt this weekend, guess the name of the first goal scorer against Newcastle Utd and the time of the first AFCB goal. We will pick a winner from the correct guesses that get the name of the scorer right and the secondly the nearest time to when the goal was scored. Eg you could guess - Wilson 17 or Stanislas 5

OR simply send in your score predictions for the match

Tweet your answers to @CherryChimes



Thursday, 22 February 2018

Should King start with Wilson up front?

Eddie Howe will have a few decisions to make in his team selection and having had a week in warmer weather with the team he will have had a good look at his forward options. Callum Wilson has bravely led the line for a run of games in December and January and Josh King is fit again and has been getting back to his best, while Lys Mousset is trying to get more minutes as well.

Would Josh King have more success in a 4-4-1-1 system?
Wilson's last goal came against Chelsea and since then he has been finding it hard to get into games from what I can see. The last minute chance he had against Stoke City still sticks on the mind, but up at Huddersfield when he wanted to impress Gareth Southgate there was little he could do to make any impression. I don't think Callum has lost any of his form particularly but he just needs to get a goal to give him a bit of confidence.


Josh King is going to want to be starting games but the system that Howe has been playing with Wilson up front and Stanislas and Fraser on the wings has not been open to a second striker. King could play wide but he is not as affective for me when he is forced out wide and his strength is his finishing, so AFCB need to get him in front of goal whenever they can. King did get a goal more recently in the last home match against Stoke and then he was on the left, but playing him there does make it hard to fit Fraser in his favoured position and Fraser has been the one supplying the majority of assists of late.

Meanwhile, Lys Mousset still finds himself third choice and it is going to be hard for him to find away into the starting line up unless he can make a habit of scoring when he comes on in games. News this week suggests that Jermain Defoe is also on his way back so if he has trained well, Mousset may have company on the bench to push him down to the fourth option, which is hard on him having been the hero last home game. It is all about who is going to stick the chances away though now, and the choice Howe makes could make the difference between AFCB cementing their place in the top 10 or having real scrap just to stay in the league.

If King were to start with Wilson up front we would see a change in formation back to a 4-4-1-1 line up and it would be great to know whether AFCB have been working on this system again over in Portugal.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Fraser is already on a par with Ritchie

Like many AFCB fans I was a bit sad when Matt Ritchie left the club for Newcastle Utd. That was more a homage of what he had done for Bournemouth since his arrival in League One days and his hard work rate. Ritchie was always AFCB's flare player and he held that mantle with great distinction during his time at the club and I'll always think fondly of him, but given a choice today to have Matt Ritchie or Ryan Fraser in AFCB's squad and I'm more than delighted that Eddie Howe still has the Wee-man under his tutelage.
Ryan Fraser has grown in stature this season.
The visit of Newcastle Utd will bring Matt Ritchie back to Dean Court in a playing respect for the first time since his departure, even though he played against AFCB earlier in the season at St James' Park. I that game Ritchie was arguably Newcastle's best player and he rattled AFCB's defence more than once, even if he did not score. Now he will be keener than ever to get a goal or more and help the Toon Army close the gap on the Cherries and other teams above them, and we know that Ritchie has the ability to win games like he did against Man Utd recently.

Still, AFCB have their own match-winners and the performances of Ryan Fraser this season have been amongst the best he has played for the club. I seriously think he is already challenging the legacy of Matt Ricthie in an AFCB shirt and he has shown that he is also becoming a fine player in different positions. Ryan is one of the most exciting players at AFCB and he just continues getting better. Even during the defeat against Huddersfield he provided the cross that enabled Junior Stanislas to score. His assist and goal record have been on an upward trajectory with two assist and four goals this season in the Premier league. Matt Ritchie has five assists and one goal.


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It's all about producing for Ryan Fraser and he is not afraid to take the responsibility to shoot, while he is also happy to play in defence if called upon. If he can develop into a complete player he will be well on his way to becoming AFCB's Scottish legend and that story could be enhanced by a goal or two against Newcastle this coming weekend, which could be a timely reminder to Alex McLeish that Scotland can't afford to do without Ryan Fraser. 
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